Editor’s note: The following is a summary prepared by Faith & Leadership of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Eight Theses on Youth Work in the Church,” from Volume 12 of the “Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works.”
1. The future of the church is not youth itself but rather the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
2. The question is not, What is youth and what rights does it have? but rather, What is the church-community and what is the place of youth within it?
3. Being in the church-community means being in Christ; being in Christ means being in the church-community.
4. Youth enjoys no special privilege in the church-community.
5. The Bible judges youth quite soberly: Genesis 8:21;Isaiah 3:5; Jeremiah 1:6;Ecclesiastes 11:10; 1 Peter 5:5; 2 Timothy 2:2 and other passages.
6. Church youth work is possible only on the basis of addressing young people concerning their baptism and with the exclusive goal of having them hear God’s word.
7. The authenticity of young people’s protest against their elders is demonstrated by their willingness to maintain solidarity with the guilt of the church-community and to bear that burden in love, abiding in penitence before God’s word.
8. There is no real “church association”; there is only the church.